Monday, July 22, 2013

Self-Portrait with Jade Cutlery, 1990


Self-Portrait with Jade Cutlery. 1990. oil, charcoal, graphite and ink on box-carton board

This is my favorite little piece among my early works. Jade cutlery? Gilded plate? Platinum metal goblet at the right? Here, objects of wealth, music (or art) as luxury or . . . let's rephrase: products owned by wealth or a status of being wealthy, sitting with an image of poverty/modesty (the simple fish and rice on the wealthy's plate). Here too is an image of possible violence in the knife or switchblade or sword at the bottom of the picture. Or is this the flute (aforementioned music object) of the seated? Or both? Also notice the overly central ordering of the picture, an arrangement or composition that could be an artiste-ism in itself. The message or question: what is the artist? For whom does the artist exist or fulfill his role? Does the artist truly know what he's doing, the politics of his role and of his works within his social surround. Does he think himself a part of this surround? Or is he alone, a self-exiled outcast who occasionally visits the marketplace to sell his wares, surviving thusly?
     Addendum: The thesis of this work would be repeated when I exhibited a painting with the Lakan Sining group of Bulacan at the Heritage Gallery in SM Megamall one August evening in 2006. The title of the painting was Matalas na Pang-amoy sa Mga Bagay na Wow (2006). I'll show that piece here later.

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